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Rating: 4.8/5 (154 votes)
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corygalliherMany kids used to spend their time at the beach building sandcastles. Not me, though. I built sand empires. I constructed little sand fiefdoms which I could rule over my sand lords from my sand throne. Believe me, it was awe-inspiring. Terraria, a new action-adventure-creativity game from Re-Logic, is perfect for a sand emperor like myself: it offers the thrill of discovery mixed with the chance to meticulously construct your own little village, city or empire. And before you think it: yes, it's a lot like Minecraft, only in 2D.

terraria.gifControl your character with the [WASD] keys, press the [spacebar] to jump, and wield your currently equipped tool with the [mouse]. There are a variety of tools available — pickaxes allow you to dig in the ground, axes let you chop down trees, swords help you fight off monsters, and so on. Later on you can obtain even more interesting gear like grappling hooks and firearms!

With this gear you'll set out to accomplish your goal, which is... pretty much whatever you want it to be! You can focus on constructing a fantastic town, in which case you'll attract NPCs who offer services like shopping and healing. You can explore the land which will lead you to mysterious dungeons and vast underground cave systems. You can collect items and use them to summon boss monsters to battle for valuables. There's really no shortage of things to do!

Terraria is presented in 2D in a style similar to a few old-school Super Nintendo RPGs. While the action can be a little small, it's generally easy to pick everything out from the screen after some time getting used to everything. The game boasts some endearing music and sound effects as well — for instance, the main theme is bound to get stuck in your head for days.

terraria2.gifAnalysis: It's pretty easy to compare Terraria to Minecraft because, well, that's exactly what it is — multiplayer features included. The similarities are clear and even the creator of Minecraft has acknowledged Terraria, giving it a bit of early attention just a few weeks before its surprise release.

Terraria takes the sandbox formula a bit further, though, by boasting a feature list that dwarfs Minecraft's even at launch. Perhaps most importantly, Terraria is available through Steam, making it much easier to obtain the game and eliminating the chance of the game becoming nearly unplayable should a main server on the developer's end go down — a problem that has plagued Minecraft for months.

Terraria is also much more of an actual game than Minecraft. There are dungeons to explore, many more varieties of monster and boss to fight that offer rewards for their defeat and NPCs to attract to your town. The exciting sense of exploration is still a key part of the game, but in Terraria exploration tends to be a lot more rewarding. You never know when you'll stumble across a treasure chest full of goodies or some valuable ore!

The real question is if Terraria has the longevity to stand alongside Minecraft. While you can create as many worlds as you want, in Terraria each is bordered on the far left and right unlike in Minecraft where they are effectively infinite. Time will tell if this means that players will eventually run out of things to do and grow bored with the game.

In terms of game design there are a few minor flaws. It's easy to be swarmed with massive amounts of monsters in Terraria, so players who'd rather focus on construction than combat might get a bit frustrated. Since the individual "blocks" that make up the world are smaller, it's also a little more difficult to be precise when building or mining. With practice, though, this becomes less of an issue.

Terraria offers such a variety of experience that both Minecraft fans and those who have never touched that game can find something to enjoy. Hop on in, chop down some trees and start your own empire. Plus, your work won't all get ruined when the tide rolls in!

Get the full version

Mac OS XMac OS X:
Not available.
Try Boot Camp or Parallels or CrossOver Games.


Earth.exe May 22, 2011 4:46 PM

I can sense an intense rivalry between this game and Minecraft in the near future. There will be blood.

waycooler May 22, 2011 5:18 PM

I have been playing this since its release last week, and I have to admit, I'm starting to get bored. I feel like collecting all of the items, for example, is something I'd like to do, except that most of them seem to get thrown in a chest, never to be used again.

Then I consider playing with friends, but why? I killed Skeletron on my own, I've nearly fully explored the Dungeon, Underworld, and Underground Jungle on my own, why bother doing it all again with other people and a different layout?

I suppose it has merely lost my attention quicker than Minecraft did. I still find myself occasionally popping into Minecraft to explore a few caves with my friends now and then, but honestly don't want to do so in Terraria. It was definitely a lot of fun while it lasted, though.

And as to comparisons to Minecraft, a friend of mine put it best: "It's like Minecraft, except 2D, with a much greater emphasis on the adventure aspect and a lesser emphasis on the sandbox aspect. Different enough to enjoy both."

I think being 2D greatly hurts its sandbox/creative appeal, though, since you can't really see your sweet castle on a mountaintop from far away, for example. Also, though there is a greater emphasis on adventure, it really just becomes a minor annoyance once you have some of the better armor and weapons. And once the adventure part is mostly gone, there's not much left to do.

I also feel like I have far too much to say on this game to put it into a simple comment, so I'll just stop here.

Yanahma May 22, 2011 5:33 PM

In response to the comment above, I too have 'completed' the game, collected all items, beaten all 3 bosses at the same time, gotten almost 100 platinum coins. However, I find the most fun thing to do in the game is to start a new world with a new character, and play multi player with your friends. You all start from scratch, and it brings a whole new element to the game. You stumble on the loot, but only one of you gets it. You build individual houses, you can take on bosses while much weaker, goblin armies in particular are brilliant fun.

I've played about 50 hours and I'm still not getting bored of it. Multiplayer is brilliant, but it is also a great single player experience, unlike Minecraft. It does a lot of things better than Minecraft, and in fact I think being 2D only grows the sandbox RPG genre rather than hinders it.

Minecraft is, and always was nothing more than a creative sandbox rather than a true game, also heavily reliant on user-generated maps, mods and texture packs. Terraria is a full game that is amazing fun both alone and with friends, and has at least 30 hours worth of exploration and items just as a base. What you do from there is the same as Minecraft. Build epic castles, pixel-art, PvP. Your creativity is the limit ;P

Anonymous May 22, 2011 6:29 PM

This and FortressCraft are sooo similar to Minecraft, watch the trailer.

anonymous May 22, 2011 9:28 PM

Finally, they decide to show this here. Terraria has been out for a week at least and is already very popular.

As for Minecraft rivalry, Minecraft will always be the bigger, better brother.
Terraria is more like the small younger nerdy brother who is into lasers and magic.

Kind of like Ender and Bean.

stephan May 22, 2011 9:49 PM

"Finally"?! Wow, give the JIG team a break, it's been out less than a week. I'm sure reviews take time to write, (since they have to, you know, play the game first) dontchaknow. whatever. >:|

To the JIG team: thanks for reviewing this! :D

GemRadar May 22, 2011 10:21 PM

What? No Mac? And what do you mean in the end of the review when the tides roll in?

Mystic Kirby May 22, 2011 10:31 PM

Ah, I love this game more than Minecraft. (puts up flame shield)

DinoSaul May 23, 2011 4:09 AM

While it lasted it was better than minecraft. But I'd got the best weapons and armour within 2 days and it just doesn't feel like there's a lot of point playing after that. I could start start fresh and do the whole thing again, maybe with a friend this time, but I don't think I'll get anywhere near the same enjoyment out of it.

MaskedBandit May 23, 2011 11:09 AM

I've played both, and I do enjoy the adventuring aspects of Terraria. From the developer blog, this build was released early, due to the demands of the people following it, and there is a lot more they want to do with the game. You can see that the game isn't complete in part by the empty sky islands, and the way that the dungeon kinda peters out. Given that they started this project this last January, I hope that we'll see plenty of additional stuff.

My one criticism is that the game can be brutal on new players. It took a few minutes to figure out how to place things as opposed to throwing them around, and the slimes proceed to immediately attack you. It would have been nice to be given a grace period (perhaps the first day cycle) to start easing in monsters on the overworld a new single-player experience. The lack of a map can make it very difficult to navigate or find resources. (I tended to use torches like bread-crumbs.)

The other problem is that the game seems pretty hard if you don't refer to the various internet resources for assistance. The Guide NPC will open doors until you build a home for him, giving the night denizens a chance to munch on you. Building homes for the NPCs can be tricky for a new player as well,

as it's not clear that dirt walls can't be used in homes

as dirt walls will spawn monsters.

All that aside, I've enjoyed the random events, and joyously let loose a stream of profanities after being attacked by the Eye of Cthulu, who then proceeded to flee when I started beating it.

(Actually, morning broke, and it runs away from the day.)

The WorldMapper program can also help significantly, and there's also a wrapper program that allows you to set the height/width of the game window, instead of defaulting to a 800x600 game window.

delrio_gw May 23, 2011 12:04 PM

@ corygalliher:
hate to break it to you but minecraft hasn't BEEN 'released' it's in beta, yes you can buy it, but it is still not an official game.

they're still adding stuff on a regular basis, and it gets better with every update.

the main difference for me is that in minecraft, you're really IN the game, it's YOU doing things, terraria is great fun, but you feel more detatched from it.

are tables and chairs really that big a deal when you can build such amazing things?

currently in minecraft, me and my buddies are playing with mobs on, we have a base set in a mountain with a mineshaft of quite epic engineering, things growling in the walls and lava falling on our heads. the game scares me still at times, i just don't get that with terraria.

i think terraria appeals more to those that need a target, something to achieve, there's an end (kinda..). for those with more imagination, minecraft is infinitely more appealing. not to mention beautiful, even in vanilla the landscapes look breathtaking.

both very good at what they do, but less comparable than many think imo

[If you want to argue semantics, a "beta" release is still an "official" game release, even if it's still not 100% complete. This is especially true when you consider they've sold over 2 million copies of it. So, it's definitely "official", just not yet "complete". -Jay]

delrio_gw May 23, 2011 3:25 PM

but minecraft isn't about building a 'home', people tend to build houses in it, because they're easy to imagine.

it's basically an aesthetic consideration. they've added beds which have a function, but you don't sit in the game anyways.

regarding the beta aspect, the game is available in single player without purchase still is it not? (apologies if i've remembered wrong) we've basically pre-purchased a game which has a very open beta

also... the terraria game isn't without issues, the multiplayer has a lot of problems with many people having to use third-party software to be able to use it. unless i've skimmed over it this isn't mentioned in the review but is an important point. they plan on using steam servers eventually which will make it easy, but for the less technically minded gamer it's a barrier - as the steam forums show.

delrio_gw May 23, 2011 4:27 PM

aha, fair enough @ the connectivity.

i know me and my pals have to use 3rd party as the port forwarding doesn't work for one of us.

though port forwarding is very confusing for a lot of people as although some games need it, i've personally only ever had to do it for 3 games.

i think it largely depends on the router too.

it might be worth tagging it on though, purely because some people might not be willing to resort to such measures and may want to wait until it's 'fixed'. port forwarding scares some people as they feel it opens them to attack through the port. in fairness the devs do actually state it as an issue they intend to fix, so it's not unreasonable to point it out as such.

though equally i suspect it's not unreasonable to expect people to read more than just one review before deciding on purchase.. i don't know

just throwing out my personal opinion i guess

as always, one of the things i love about this site is that i can say all i've said without being flamed :)


Oh man I'm sad I don't want to buy things now.
However, is that Deceased Crab in one of the screenshots? Huzzah!

Heres your walkthrough May 23, 2011 6:04 PM

Who is Deceased Crab?


I'm going to have to side with @delrio_gw in general. This review and ensuing comments, to be honest, while well-written and comprehensive, left kind of a bad taste in mouth. And I'm not even that big into Minecraft. I bought and played it for a while without ever reaching an elusive mobspawner, and only venturing into the Nether once or twice before I was promptly destroyed. I lost diamond items in surprise lava flows, cursed the one dark corner in dungeons that spawned skeletons, and, of course, learned to fear the creeper's telltale hiss. And yet, it was one of the more immersive and satisfying experiences I've had with a game, in part due to the grand scale of the worlds, the rareness of materials, and the fact that it is in first person. Sure, it may not have the vast compendium touted by Terraria, but its system is utilized so effectively that each new addition is like discovering a new toy, no matter how small.

The reason I grew frustrated with the review is because of this line:

The real question is if Terraria has the longevity to stand alongside Minecraft.

I'm not sure why this has to be the "real question." Are we really so frustrated with Minecraft that if something comes along that is similar (or indeed borrows heavily from the original) that we have to compare the two to the point of deriding one or the other? This reminds me of the "Grand Theft Auto clone" debate that raged on so many internet forums all those years ago. Or the current World of Warcraft killers (it's probably important to realize that, despite people's complaints about that game, nothing has come along that has borrowed heavily from its system and been nearly as successful). Cory mentioned in a comment that Terraria has grappling hooks - and Minecraft still doesn't. Yeah, okay. More features aren't always better, and I'm not sure Minecraft is poorer for the lack of some of the things the reviewer and subsequent comments have mentioned (by the way, @MaskedBandit, maps were recently introduced to Minecraft). Half-Life 2 only had like 6 persistent guns (not including one-offs like turrets) and it's still my favorite shooter of all time because it did so much with what it had. Some of the criticisms leveled here seem particularly captious.

Minecraft is a beast all its own. Lest I come across as one who swears by it, I will say this: I really like the look of Terraria and when I have a little extra cash I'll probably fork it over. And you know what? I'll probably like it quite a bit - maybe even as much as Minecraft, for the time that I play it. I completely understand there's value in comparing games, and that Minecraft is the gold standard and patriarch of the genre that Terraria is breaking into. I could be eating my words if Terraria goes on to make millions of dollars or enters the general gamer lexicon (a good measure of this is if people one day say, "This seems a lot like Terraria" rather than "This seems an awful lot like Minecraft"). But when a cross-section of players says about a game "yeah, I finished it and felt no real incentive to complete it again," then the game is clearly lacking the qualities that have made Minecraft so popular. I just don't think it has made all that money based on the items you can make. It's popular because it is engrossing - because so many people like the feeling of pure, unbridled exploration.

benjabby May 24, 2011 11:50 AM

I dont like the "2D minecraft" comparison. :( i see minecraft as a 3D dwarf fortress?!

anyway. i love this game. but it gets boring once you have all the stuff :( doesnt take long to do


I see this game more closer to a adventure platformer than to minecraft. While minecraft emphasis gathering for your structures, terraria focus on gear yourself up to explore deeper and face harder enemies.

The sandbox part is miniscule, I would agree that the fact it is 2d make it hard to be compared with minecraft. And chair in here always a chair. Unlike on minecraft you can put stone slab along with wool and call it chair. So all objects already defined, you can't arrange them to make different interpreptation.

If I would compare, I say this is cave story (exploration platformer) met motherload (resources gathering) met minecraft (crafting).

adam gunderloy May 25, 2011 5:54 PM

Yet another game I get left out of thanks to my stupid mac. Thanks, apple. I am now free from the evil known as fun.

ichigo505 May 31, 2011 3:49 AM

Couldn't have put it better myself

Anonymous June 3, 2011 11:56 AM

Personally, I don't really think of Terraria as a Minecraft clone- of course, I'd be a fool and delusional to boot if I said it wasn't heavily inspired.

But it seems more like Terraria has landed somewhere between "Adventure Platformer" and "2D Dwarf Fortress (okay, a /different/ kind of 2D than DF is normally)"

Now, would I want to replay the game in Single-Player, once I've 'completed' it? Probably not. Minecraft has two aspects- the architecture-simulator-sandbox, and the explore/dig/craft/dig deeper adventure aspect.

Terraria /excels/ at the latter. It contains far more gamelike elements, there's much deeper and more interesting places to dig to, more unusual and dangerous places to find, better things to craft and about three times more enemies to fight. Minecraft, by comparison, is "dig 'til you find iron, then find diamond, then make diamond stuff." I'm not saying it's not fun, but if you play MC solely for adventure then you quickly run out of things to do. (See also, noted MC LPer 'X', david64yrt)

However, it's the architecture-sandbox that keeps people coming back to Minecraft and makes Minecraft so exceptional, and that's what Terraria is really missing. The 2D gameplay means that the 'make a cool big building' is extremely limited compared to what can be done in 3D. Terraria is /trying/ to cultivate that same build-it-for-the-sake-of-doing-so atmosphere, but it hasn't really succeeded. You can make beautiful things in Minecraft, not so much in Terraria.

In this way, Terraria is much more gamelike- it has a beginning, a middle, and a definite end. Now, I am willing to bet that Multiplayer would be definitely more entertaining, and that I will probably do when I beat Terraria the first time round. Terraria is /fun/, and it's worth all of your ten bucks- but it's not the same kind of fun as Minecraft.

Pandragon June 17, 2011 6:17 AM

do the developers care to provide a demo version?
or are they too conceited that anyone who watched the promo video will buy their game off the bat?

Pannhead June 28, 2011 7:33 PM

Terraria is an action adventure RPG with crafting and building elements. Minecraft is a survival adventure construction sandbox with fighting and crafting elements. They're different enough to satisfy two different kinds of fun, but I think with the upcoming pistons and adventure update in Minecraft its going to be a whole new experience.

Cheeseable June 29, 2011 2:49 PM

I think Terraria is exciting, but not quite as exciting as Minecraft.

Think about it, yeah, there's dungeons and bosses and all that, but nothing really scares you like minding your own business in broad daylight when you hear a "sssssss" behind you.
And, as Pannhead said, there's new updates which sound exciting. I want to see Terraria create something that can hide your house entirely to open up at the flick of a switch.

I'm sure there are people who like Terraria better for the action/RPG. I personally like Minecraft better for the updates and sheer possibilities of creation.

Anonymous June 30, 2011 6:43 AM

Minecraft vs. Terraria. Terraria is the better game. You'll notice I said better game. Thats because Terraria is a game. You have objectives and things to accomplish. Minecraft is a sandbox. There's not goal other than make it through your night without roasting in a pit of lava. Terraria has more things in it because its required to play the game. Minecraft, all you need is your imagination and maybe a diamond pick

Stephen July 7, 2011 12:33 PM

How come when I try to start a server it says i'm running on port 33173? Also, when i'm waiting for clients nothing happens and the server doesn't start?


@adam gunderloy

Terraria is for mac, i run it perfectly fine. But I must say, I wanted it SO bad for a long time, and once I got it, I was bored within like 2 hours, when I had the best armour, collected all the resources, and pwned all the bosses, which was easy. So I went back to Minecraft, and played it all night again. I have been playing Minecraft since the first Alpha release, and am still not bored with it, and dont see myself ever being bored with it, due to its steady stream of updates and mod releases, you can change the game to be your own. Just a word of advice, the game isnt as fun as most of you guys who cant play it think it is


1.2 update next week!

gamerGurl October 13, 2013 9:01 PM

I don't own this game, though I sometimes play on a friends computer.

I found that I am (Not to brag) fairly good at finding secret tunnles/areas example:

Friend: Uggggh i don't no where to go
Me (confidently): there, where the dirt shapes into a slight curve
Friend: mm okay....
(At this point he gapes at screen and does a dorky victory dance because I apparently found some super rare material or something)

And, for that reason alone, I kinda want to buy it. But first: Chrono Trigger (NEED)

My tips for others: It's all about the slight deviations in the ground, and often the more obscure and difficult to reach ones hold the best items XD


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